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Pritchard, Hugh W.

Hugh Pritchard
Job title: 

Senior Research Leader, Comparative Seed Biology

Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology
Joined Kew: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Hons), Univ. Leicester, 1978
  • PhD, CNAA, 1983
  • Honorary Professor – Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Univ. Sussex
  • Fellow – Society of Biology (FSB) and Linnean Society (FLS)
  • Member – Academy of Sciences of South Africa
  • Trustee – Society for Low Temperature Biology
  • Assistant Editor – CryoLetters


I manage and lead research on comparative seed biology, with specialist interests in stress biology (desiccation, low temperature, oxidative), threshold models and global change, and seed storage stability.

I am Kew Principal Investigator of Co-Investigators on four competitive research grants: two FP7 European Union projects on seed quality (2012-18), a Darwin Initiative project on cycad biology (2014-17) and a RCUK-CONFAP (Research Councils UK-Brazilian Council of State Funding Agencies) project on the comparative seed biology of Amazonia species (2015).

I also provide international coordination of Kew’s collaborative science with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, India.

Selected publications: 

Wang, Y., Li, Y., Xue, H., Pritchard, H. W. & Wang, X.F. (in press). Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-provoked mitochondria-dependent cell death during ageing of elm (Ulmus pumila L.) seeds. The Plant Journal.

Beardmore, T., Loo, J., Mathews, S., McGovern, K., Nikiema, A., Souvannavong, O., Taylor, M., Thomson, J., Bouda, H-N., Cavers, S., Duminil, J., Ekue, M., Fady, B., Pritchard, H., Thomas, E. & van Zonneveld, M. (2014). The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources. FAO, Rome, 304 pp.

Nadarajan, J. & Pritchard, H. W. (2014). Biophysical characteristics of successful oilseed embryo cryoprotection and cryopreservation using vacuum infiltration vitrification, an innovation in plant cell preservation. PLoS ONE  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096169.

Colville, L., Bradley, E. L., Lloyd, A. S., Pritchard, H. W., Castle, L. & Kranner, I. (2012). Volatile fingerprints of seeds of four species indicate the involvement of alcoholic fermentation, lipid peroxidation, and Maillard reactions in seed deterioration during ageing and desiccation stress. Journal of Experimental Botany 63: 6519-6530.

Orrù, M., Mattana, E., Pritchard, H. W. & Bacchetta, G. (2012). Thermal thresholds as predictors of seed dormancy release and germination timing: altitude-related risks from climate warming for the wild grapevine Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris. Annals of Botany 110: 1651-1660.